February 4, 2021

ROGER SIMON: All Republican State Legislatures Should Follow Gov. DeSantis’ Lead to End Big Tech Domination.

The Big Tech giants have created the most sophisticated and seductive form of fascist mind control in human history.

In so doing, not only have they enabled and promulgated the “cancel culture,” sabotaging the freedom and liberty envisioned in our country’s founding, along with the First Amendment, they have addicted our youth, miseducated, and corrupted them.

They have also, through their dominance, which almost no one predicted, heavily and unfairly influenced elections and become the greatest threat to our democratic republic extant.

Many have complained about this, some with eloquence, but other than unfulfilled rumblings about reforming Section 230—the legalism that shields these companies from being sued for what they publish—nothing has been done. No one has really stepped up.

Until Ron DeSantis.

On Feb. 2, the Florida governor gave a speech outlining a series of concrete proposals for his state that would have a serious impact on these companies. (Details in a moment)

I am writing this column to urge all Republican state legislatures and governors to pay close attention to what DeSantis has proposed and emulate, even expand on, these new regulations and legislative solutions in their states.

This would create pronounced and consequential change, and these legislatures and governors have the power to do it. Twenty-four states are fully under Republican control, and in several more they have a majority in the legislatures.

According to Americans for Tax Reform, states with Republican-controlled legislatures have populations of nearly 186 million, Democrat-controlled only about 134 million.

That’s Republican clout, should the states choose to use it. And they should because federal action on Big Tech is somewhere between unlikely and impossible given the current situation in D.C., not to mention that these companies are the biggest political contributors in history with the deepest pockets.

Moreover, the national Republican Party cannot be relied upon, its congressional leadership being, to be kind, remarkably tepid.

Here are DeSantis’ proposals, as outlined by Breitbart.com:

  • Mandatory opt-outs from big tech’s content filters, a solution to tech censorship first proposed by Breitbart News in 
  • A private right of action for Floridian citizens against tech companies that violate this condition.
  • Fines of $100,000 per day levied on tech companies that suspend candidates for elected office in Florida from their platforms.
  • Daily fines for any tech company “that uses their content and user-related algorithms to suppress or prioritize the access of any content related to a political candidate or cause on the ballot.”
  • Greater transparency requirements.
  • Disclosure requirements enforced by Florida’s election authorities for tech companies that favor one candidate over another.
  • Power for the Florida attorney general to bring cases against tech companies that violate these conditions under the state’s Unfair and Deceptive Practices Act.

Every one of these proposals is worthy. Undoubtedly more could be added if the Republican states, working together or separately, address the problem.

Governor DeSantis shouldn’t have to do it all by himself, brave as he is.

The transparency issue especially must be delved into. It relates directly to the question of algorithms referred to immediately above it, since everything in our culture is political, not just electoral politics. Entertainment and (most importantly) education are also heavily politicized and subject to manipulation by algorithms.

Missing too is the increasingly dangerous area of data collection, which can lead to people being fired, blacklisted or, particularly for younger people, socially ostracized for their views.

This last has led to an epidemic of depression among the young. We have Big Tech to thank for that.

So, states, do your thing. Don’t wait. This is your time!

Related: From Stephen Kruiser: Can Ron DeSantis Teach Media Relations to Weak Republicans?

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